How Important is Apple Pay on the Web?

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / frescomovieYesterday, Apple announced a number of features for both iOS and its desktop operating system, renamed macOS, but the one that struck the payments community was the announcement that Apple Pay was moving to Safari on both desktop and mobile.

Just how important is this development, however?

The payments community thinks this is a crucial development, by and large. Brian Roemmele, CEO/founder of PayFinders, certainly does, and has been predicting this for a while. In a Medium post on the topic he noted, “The largest failure point in any web-based shopping experience is during the payment and address information request.” Apple Pay for the Web (which for now means just Apple’s browser Safari) will solve this in a big way, according to Roemmele:

The speed and efficiency of this 1-click transaction web transaction will equal the user experience found with Apple Pay in-app. It will be like the Amazon 1-click shopping cart is on any website that adopts Apple Pay. Apple pioneered 1-click with Amazon, who holds the invention that Apple has licensed from the inventor, Jeff Bezos.

This refers to Amazon’s ownership of the patent for one-click purchases. Roemmele is one of the leading authorities on Apple Pay and digital commerce in general, but he is also an unapologetic booster of the service. His company PayFinders helps users find Apple Pay locations (though nothing says this won’t expand to other “Pays,” as well).

And Roemmele was far from alone in this assessment. Jason Del Rey on Recode titled his piece, “Apple Pay is coming to websites and it’s a really big deal,” and noted that this represented a significant challenge to PayPal.

Tom Noyes, CEO of Commerce Signals, laid out several reasons why merchants might be excited by the news:

So it looks like yet another buy button can be added to a checkout page. Thad Peterson, senior analyst with Aite Group, notes that more buttons can mean more complexity for merchants.

“I think it’s an important step for Apple Pay and mobile payments generally,” Peterson said. “Merchants have so many buttons to choose from, but if you’re a merchant whose product appeals to an iPhone and Mac demographic, then it makes sense. PayPal and Amazon can deliver larger audiences, but it’s a good idea, a logical idea, that follows in a linear way what Apple has been doing.”

James Wester, research director at IDC, agreed.

“It has been the logical next step for so long,” he told Bank Innovation by email. “Apple Pay has always been about the ecosystem and adding that functionality makes the ecosystem that much more useful.”

But Wester expressed reservations about the user experience of the new service, which requires a second authentication factor, namely Touch ID on the iPhone.

“They’re clearly treading on PayPal’s turf, but the requirements to use Apple Pay only through Safari and with an iPhone or Apple Watch nearby may limit that intrusion,” he said. “I don’t know that it improves purchases for either consumers or merchants; it doesn’t appear faster or smoother than methods currently available to consumers to make web purchases, and I’m not sure it will improve shopping-cart abandonment. There is an improvement in security for merchants, which is a good thing, but consumers already find CVV codes to be annoying. Will they now adopt a step that requires their phones to make a purchase? I have my doubts.”

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